In movies and video games alike, Spider-Man has graced us with performances both good and bad with plenty of mediocrity sandwiched between. Many of Peter Parker's newer pixelated jaunts feature a strong premise and promising gameplay assets that fizzle out to little more than decent licensed adventures. They're still better than any of Superman's games, but what isn't? There's got to be a way to ensure future games improve upon those of the past. And we think we've got the answer: the newest Spider-Man game on PlayStation 4.
The upcoming action-adventure is the first licensed game from Insomniac, and it's going to tell a brand new Spidey story that's not tied down to any existing comic or game. Instead, it's going to focus on an older, more wizened Spider-Man who's seen things. Here's how it's going to change things up, and why you should get your web-slinging paws on it when it launches worldwide September 7.
Setting it in an open world
Insomniac's vision of Spider-Man is going to let you roam around its open world. This has been done successfully in previous Spider-Man releases. Once this element is removed, Spidey's exploits become considerably less "epic" — the feeling you get when whizzing through the air with the lightness of a feather, dangling by a thick cord of web is gone. An open world not only meshes well with mission-based gameplay, but it makes a generally linear game feel much less like a slog. We know it works and we'd like to see more of it in the future, rather than confining Spider-Man to simple flicks of the wrist to ensnare a foe in close-quarters combat.
Inventive in-game combat
Spidey is a badass, there's no denying that, but we don't always get to see many of his moves when it comes to game combat. When he implements his one calling card — that sticky, impossibly strong webbing — things really start heating up. Anyone can headbutt a perp or go toe-to-toe in combat, but only Spidey can implement the finesse and grace of a spider capturing its prey. There's also hilarious stuff you can do to a bad guy while he's bound together with webbing, like shoot more and try to blind him. In any case, let's focus less on making Spidey a big he-man and let him develop the powers he's known for. This was an exciting feature in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and it should be a staple of each subsequent game. Insomniac looks like they've got this on lock.
Keeping the humor
Spidey's a multi-faceted character, and can adapt to most situations. But he's at his best when we can't keep him from mocking his enemies and ensuring everyone knows not to mess with Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Heavy, introspective narratives tend to work against keeping things light, frantic, and fun. Batman seems to have cornered the market when it comes to urban fantasy and existential darkness, so why not give us many more chances to laugh at Spidey's stupid puns and antics? In the end, that's a key component of what makes stepping into the iconic red and blue suit so memorable. It looks like Insomniac's vision of the web-slinging hero is going to work out splendidly.
Taking it back to the beginning
Remember Spider-Man back on the original PlayStation? It excellently combined elements of Spider-Man and Spider-Man Unlimited, both fantastic cartoon series, and it also pulled several suits and quotes from the comic books themselves. While this isn't a staunch requirement for future Spider-Man releases, it's a nice nod to fans who have been following the character from the start, and a way to reward longtime readers with a special nudge, like "Hey, we know you're out there, and we didn't forget you." Looks like that's what Spider-Man is doing, at least in the form of some of the DLC costumes, and within the game. We're ready to eat it up, too.